Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) need a care programme as the disease progresses. We used telemedicine- assisted integrated care (TAIC) in 40 patients with ALS, for a mean duration of 8.6 months (range 1-12). A nurse-tutor played the key role, supported by respiratory physicians, neurologists and psychologists. Each patient used a portable pulse oximeter during the daily telephone contacts to assess clinical/oxygen variations. Patients also completed a satisfaction questionnaire. During the study period, each patient used TAIC at least five times per month. There were 1907 scheduled telephone calls (86% of the total) and 317 unscheduled calls. Of the unscheduled calls, 84% were managed by the nurse-tutor and only 16% of them required specialist intervention. The most common item was the ALS clinical interview (58%), followed by the description of acute symptoms, cough ability and oxygenation. TAIC staff recommended 4 out of 12 emergency hospital admissions (33%) and 77% of the other hospitalizations. Patients and caregivers were extremely satisfied (79%) with the nurse assistance provided and the patients' confidence in handling their disease improved in 71% of the cases. TAIC provides a nurse-centred, home-monitoring programme that can be a useful way of following up ALS patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics